Monday, May 12, 2014

DVACLP Conference Spring 2014

When I was hired as a child life specialist back in May of 2013, I never thought that I would be presenting at a Child Life Conference, especially not in my first year! That all changed one fall day when my boss told my coworkers and I that we would be hosting the Spring 2014 Delaware Valley Association of Child Life Professionals Conference. I was excited of course, and knew it would be my time to shine, so I had to volunteer to present. It only made sense for the hosts to present during the conference, but I wasn't doing it alone. I wasn't a great public speaker prior to landing this job, and to have to speak for an hour kind of scared me. My boss chose to present with me, and I breathed a sigh of relief! I had written a paper in college about Mindful Meditation, specifically for child life specialists, and decided to add in more about compassion fatigue, burnout, and other self-care tips. My boss and I put in many, many hours researching and preparing our presentation, adding in fun activities to get the audience involved.

In the end, we were happy with what we came up with. To think that putting together a conference is easy, is a joke. It took a ton of work on all of our parts - ordering thank you bags, setting up food orders, putting together folders, itinerary, and a poster board, typing up name tags, and creating a tour to hold. Our to-do list was endless. Thankfully we had the whole team working together {CCLSs, nurses, and other healthcare professionals} because I don't think everything would have gotten done. 

The day arrived faster than we all expected it, and I was on the road to the hospital while it was still dark out. I was too nervous to eat anything, but figured I could grab something when we were situated at the hospital. When I arrived we began setting up; thankfully aside from the registration table, nothing else needed to be done! We quickly set up and I grabbed a bite to eat to try and settle my stomach, that was still doing somersaults! Thoughts like, "why did I volunteer to present in front of all these people?" "Maybe I could leave and no one would notice!" To make matters worse, we were the last presentation of the day, so not only did we have to wait all day and sit through the other presentations, while the nerves were rising about ours, but we were presenting when everyone pretty much had enough information for the day, and they were all waiting for their cerificates to go home. 

We had a few minutes before our presentation started so I practiced breathing slowly, and controlled. I put my microphone on and felt professional. It was really happening and I wasn't going to run. My boss started with my introduction, and then I introduced her, and soon we were rolling through our presentation, and the audience was intrigued! I was still nervous, but it was over before I knew it! I could not have been more excited or proud at that moment. It was honestly an extremely important day in my life, and I'm so glad I did it!

Afterwards, myself, some coworkers, and a tone it up sister (who is an aspiring child life specialist) went and enjoyed dinner together! It was quite an early dinner considering it was only 4:30, but after my nerves ate at my stomach all day, I was glad to chow down on some chips and salsa, and the best steak quesadillas I've ever tasted! I loved being able to talk about my experience and help someone achieve their dreams! 

If I was asked to present again, I'd definitely say yes, nerves and all. 

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